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Old 12-29-2014, 06:26 PM   #41
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Swiss seems fine enough but if you transit through ZRH to another European destination, you're often landing at 5 PM or later local time.

Prefer to land much earlier.
We figure we'll just last until bedtime ZRH time. Next day we'll fly to Athens. Slower but maybe gentler.
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Old 12-29-2014, 06:32 PM   #42
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Swiss seems fine enough but if you transit through ZRH to another European destination, you're often landing at 5 PM or later local time.

Prefer to land much earlier.
Since Switzerland is generally my final destination, it's not a problem for me. I am exhausted and ready to go to bed when I arrive.
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Old 12-30-2014, 01:54 PM   #43
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A few weeks ago, I booked flights into Rome and back from Venice for $1,077 on US Air, one stop each way in PHL at the end of May for two+ weeks, leave on a Thursday night back on a Monday.

This was $200 cheaper than when I was looking a couple of years ago.
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Old 12-30-2014, 02:51 PM   #44
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That's good for that time of the year.
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Manual Kayak Analysis
Old 12-30-2014, 03:48 PM   #45
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Manual Kayak Analysis

By using the fare alert emails, I was able to plot prices for a specific round trip: Charlotte/London. I selected the first saturday and sunday in October, November, December, and January (February is tracked, but not plotted).

There is an obvious and known trend that the prices can, and often do skyrocket when the departure date gets near. But there's no "dip" a certain number of days in advance. If I knew then what I know now, I would have booked 100 or more days out from my travel date.

There are two charts, one where the price for all flights are plotted together. The other chart is aligned so align with days before the flight.

In the second chart, we see there that when, say, the October flights went down, so did November, December and January. In other words, the "market" for flights has some independence of the departure date.

In the first chart, we see that, generally, the prices rise. First slowly, then (possibly) rapidly when the travel date approaches.

In both charts there is sometimes one day where a particular flight jumps way down. On those days, I logged in and could not find that price any more. Even though I left the data as I collected it, I don't think those prices are "real".

Finally, the fare alerts do not let you set detailed parameters. I wanted a non-red-eye flight, but the alerts simply grabbed some horrific flights...20 hours with multiple stops...something I wouldn't consider. So I put a few bubbles on the chart that showed what I was able to find manually searching Kayak for reasonable daytime flights.

The last data point is for today, December 30.

My take-away is: Start watching the price 150 days out. If it drops $150 or more, buy it. If it doesn't drop, or if you miss it, go ahead and buy it around 100 days out.
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Old 12-30-2014, 04:22 PM   #46
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Finally, the fare alerts do not let you set detailed parameters. I wanted a non-red-eye flight, but the alerts simply grabbed some horrific flights...20 hours with multiple stops...something I wouldn't consider. So I put a few bubbles on the chart that showed what I was able to find manually searching Kayak for reasonable daytime flights.
Yup! For the flights I am looking at, the cheapest is about $400 less, but the trip is almost 30 hours each way versus 16-8 hours for one stop.

Worse, open jaws flights still seem a lot more than round trip prices. Granted the costs of transportation and sometimes an extra day in a hotel, eliminate most of the extra cost. But, I still wonder why it is so much more expensive to fly from A to B and return by flying from C back to A, when the mileage is about the same, cities are similar, airlines are similar, etc.

Whatever, it's still a lot cheaper than business class. I would rather fly non-stop in Economy, than business class with an extra stop and another 6-8 hours of overall travel time.
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Old 12-30-2014, 07:55 PM   #47
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Yup! For the flights I am looking at, the cheapest is about $400 less, but the trip is almost 30 hours each way versus 16-8 hours for one stop.

Worse, open jaws flights still seem a lot more than round trip prices. Granted the costs of transportation and sometimes an extra day in a hotel, eliminate most of the extra cost. But, I still wonder why it is so much more expensive to fly from A to B and return by flying from C back to A, when the mileage is about the same, cities are similar, airlines are similar, etc.

Whatever, it's still a lot cheaper than business class. I would rather fly non-stop in Economy, than business class with an extra stop and another 6-8 hours of overall travel time.
This wasn't my experience. When I booked at a flight from IAH to AMS, then MUC to IAH 3 weeks later, it cost exactly the same as a round trip from IAH to AMS which was just a tad higher than the round trip from IAH to MUC. This was late August 2014, returning mid-September.
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Old 01-01-2015, 01:27 PM   #48
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Let me say that I'm a very budget traveler. If I cannot get a very good airfare to Europe, we'll have a backup vacation destination in another region in the U.S. I research all flights at MatrixITASoftware.com--where the airlines' computers feed into. We usually fly open jaw--into one city and out of another.

There are now basically 4 airline partnerships from North America to Europe. They're very good at controlling the supply and demand of seating--and ultimately the pricing. While fuel prices are lower this year, most airlines have already booked fuel on the commodity market for much higher prices for the rest of 2015. Lower prices won't necessarily lower their costs until next year, or the next.

2015 European flights are priced at an all time high--in the $1500 range or more. Even the Winter airfares have been abnormally expensive. Some European airports are less expensive to fly into than others.

We travel on Mondays and Tuesdays at the end of the offseason. We left the end of March, 2014 for Budapest and flew home from Prague the middle of April--$728 round trip. I read about a one day sale out of Atlanta on ClarkHoward.com.

The only really cheaper airfares to Europe right now are on Norwegian Airlines originating at Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Los Angeles, New York JFK and Oakland. If you can get to these airports for a reasonable price (or drive), sign onto Norwegian.com for current programs.

Travelers flying out of New York, Boston or Chicago can often catch a flight inexpensively on Aer Lingus through Dublin or Icelandic Airlines through Reykevik. Sometimes, flights on Turkish Airlines through Istanbul can also be cheap.

It's possible to save substantially if you take a little time to feel out the airfare market. And don't forget about budget European airlines to get from city to city once you get to Europe.
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Old 01-02-2015, 03:00 PM   #49
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Have you considered a relocation cruise for one way? Then flying back? Depending on where you leave from you can save a lot of $. It is like two vacations !
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Old 01-02-2015, 04:39 PM   #50
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Have you considered a relocation cruise for one way? Then flying back? Depending on where you leave from you can save a lot of $. It is like two vacations !
I watch for Fall cruise buys on VacationsToGo.com. They're the largest seller of cruises worldwide, and virtually every cruise in the world is listed there.

And repositioning cruises are a real bargain for those that can be away from home for 3-4 weeks. I wouldn't suggest one for a new cruiser, as being 6 to 7 days out to sea without seeing land can be difficult for some.

Many European cruises are also very good buys--vs. land travel. Most will either start or end in Barcelona if it's a Mediterranean cruise.
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Old 01-02-2015, 04:49 PM   #51
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Travelers flying out of New York, Boston or Chicago can often catch a flight inexpensively on Aer Lingus through Dublin or Icelandic Airlines through Reykevik.

Very true. We got a great deal back in June this way. Drove to Newark (ugh!) and flew Icelandic to Brussels with a most delightful four day stop in Reykjavik. We flew Economy Comfort class, and since Business Class was only half full (on all four legs of our trip), they just put us up there with the high rollers.


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Old 01-02-2015, 05:39 PM   #52
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A young cousin was stationed in Reykjavik in the Marines--guarding the U.S. Embassy.

He absolutely loved living there. They'd hitchhike into town nights to hit the bars, and loads of beautiful women would pick them up. Then they'd ask what time they wanted a ride back to the base. Sounds like a pretty wild place.

Icelandic can also get you to other great places like Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo. But Summer's the time to go there--and I only go in Spring and Fall.
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Old 01-02-2015, 07:18 PM   #53
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I've noticed that at this particular moment - roundtrip tickets to Milan for this summer, are MUCH cheaper than the other cities. I'm seeing r/t San Diego/Milan at $1250. Barcelona is $1450ish, and the other cities are higher than that.
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Old 01-02-2015, 07:57 PM   #54
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Realistically, for me alternatives to flight are not possible, though I like the idea of making a crossing for at least one way to Europe. Maybe, when I don't have to work about others who still work for a living.

I can certainly find cheaper flights, if I don't mind spending anywhere from 26 to 30 hours in transit. Or spending extra on hotel stays, more transportation, etc. But, again, that conflicts with others who have a limited time for this trip thanks to 'work'. (My apologies for using that word on this forum. )

I do appreciate al the tips and notes on what worked for others.
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:02 PM   #55
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One bright note. The Euro is now worth $1.20.
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Old 01-03-2015, 12:51 AM   #56
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Very true. We got a great deal back in June this way. Drove to Newark (ugh!) and flew Icelandic to Brussels with a most delightful four day stop in Reykjavik. We flew Economy Comfort class, and since Business Class was only half full (on all four legs of our trip), they just put us up there with the high rollers.


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i've used icelandic also. I liked them quite a bit.
there is another iceland airline called WOW that has some good prices
i have not tried them yet though..
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Old 01-03-2015, 07:11 AM   #57
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Well, I paid extra for a non-red eye to the UK, and United apparently didn't have us packed in tightly enough, so they put the whole plane load of us on a flight 8 hours later. I hate oligopolies!
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Old 01-03-2015, 10:29 PM   #58
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Rodi, your family vacation sounds amazing! What a trip!

The only suggestion I will offer is to work some miles into your planning through bonus miles from the airline credit cards.

I booked two one-way flights to London last year and one round trip for DH this year on miles, and a first class home from Mongolia for me, and three one-ways from Tokyo home for DH and two friends, plus a round trip for DH to Chile next week, all with miles only.


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Old 01-03-2015, 10:56 PM   #59
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Rodi, your family vacation sounds amazing! What a trip!

The only suggestion I will offer is to work some miles into your planning through bonus miles from the airline credit cards.

I booked two one-way flights to London last year and one round trip for DH this year on miles, and a first class home from Mongolia for me, and three one-ways from Tokyo home for DH and two friends, plus a round trip for DH to Chile next week, all with miles only.


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That is great. How do you rack up so many miles? From other flying trips, credit cards or some other ways?

We don't have a choice about not going to Europe because of family so the current air fares are a travel budget hit for us.
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Old 01-04-2015, 05:17 PM   #60
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Oh it is a great little hobby!
Basically I started because a traveling friend challenged me to try it.

The key is to watch for good bonus deals from the biggest ones: Chase, Barclays, and Citibank. My first was the Chase Sapphire, and I just got a new Citibank American Airlines card that I'm working the spend on now. Those are favorites, as the Sapphire points transfer 1:1 to United and AA is one of the easiest to find award flights.

Fuego is probably even better at this stuff than I am, but that retired SOB has more time on his hands to scout deals than a working stiff like me!
j/k

Each card will have a minimum spend, say $3000 in 3 months, in order to get the bonus. I typically keep the card for a year, then cancel when the annual fee is charged. Not much hit to my credit score, despite what you hear.

We have a few threads around here on the subject, but you might also check out flyertalk, which is also a good place to learn about the current bonus offerings.








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